TECHNOLOGY Working from Home & Office Safety

When we think about urban working life then we presume a person’s independence of a job or an office. In that scenario, we always want an accessible environment that is equipped with the latest technology and now the way things are advancing, you can work remotely too. However, not all parts of the world are advanced enough to support, track or monitor employees working from home or remote locations.

If I give my own example, I am inclined to look at the integrity of an employee who intends to work from a remote location since integrity cannot be identified or depicted by a machine.

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How can we ascertain that an employee is actually performing the task or not? It is very sensitive to allow an employee to work from home or a remote site as one cannot weigh a person’s dedication to a task or client.

In western culture, job assignment is a lot more organised since they utilize online workflows and/or other suitable resources. However, in a developing nation it becomes challenging to monitor without the right tools or systems to inspect the assigned work. In that kind of culture, it is still a question mark in the minds of those running Small office/home office (SOHO), small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) or large enterprises as

people still have the ideology that an employee must be in-house and under our eagle eye! The fact remains that an open face-to-face discussion is more appealing than having an audio/video conference session.

The good side of allowing employees to work from home is that they will be much more relaxed being in their comfort zone. Sometimes an overly intimidated employee may not be able to perform optimally under an imposing boss! In such cases, a work-from-home option is much desired as freedom may boost employee performance – more prevalent in western countries.

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However, employees without integrity will abuse/misuse this freedom and work might suffer since one may also indulge in personal work. Unfortunately, this is the downside of working from home or a remote location.

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a) Hard work, professionalism & loyalty guarantees success

b) If you give your 100%, work will never suffer

c) If you do not perform, you will perish

These are the 3 principles I work with and has enabled my growth.

Questions to ask yourself when an employee works from home or a remote location:
» Is the employee putting adequate number of working hours?
» Will the quality of work be maintained?
» Are you monitoring their web activities?
» Are you getting timely updates?
» Is the employee available for a conference call when required?
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A Network Attached Storage (NAS) is a single storage device that operates on data files, easy to manage and affordable – ideal for SOHO and SMBs. A Storage Area Network (SAN) is a local network of multiple devices that operate on disk blocks, fast but expensive – ideal for large enterprises.

The most well-known instance of the data encryption and password protection was a February 2016 court case in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. The FBI wanted Apple to create and electronically sign new software that would enable the FBI to unlock a work-issued iPhone 5C it recovered from one of the shooters in a December 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, that killed 14 people and injured 22. The two attackers later died in a shootout with police, having first destroyed their personal phones. The work phone was recovered intact but was locked with a four-digit password and was set to eliminate all its data after ten failed password attempts. Apple declined to create the software, and a hearing was scheduled for March 22. However, a day before the hearing was supposed to happen, the government obtained a delay, saying they had found a third party able to assist in unlocking the iPhone and, on March 28, it announced that the FBI had unlocked the iPhone and withdrew its request.

MONITORING EMPLOYEES AT WORK

There are a lot of systems in the market that allow you to monitor employee activities within business networks like workflow systems, timesheet management systems and internet management systems which help track the actual hours spent on a task or client.

There is always a possibility that an employee will claim to have put in a whole day for a task whereas they have been browsing the internet and spent negligible time on the job!

Also, you could find Software that provide visibility of user activities by monitoring keystrokes subject to conformity of prevailing laws and awareness by the target user.

Depending on the level of data confidentiality and user privacy, there are many ways to track what your employee is up to when you are out of office.

WORKING SAFELY

Nowadays, we are all concerned about the safety of data and piracy.

Theft and hacking of information is rampant and involve measures to be taken in order to protect your office or private data. There are numerous sophisticated security solutions available in the market known as Unified Threat Management (UTM) appliances and one such appliance is Sophos Cyberoam which we have deployed in our office. Such systems allow you to stay on top of everything that comes in and goes out of your office. If you want a report on what someone has sent/received, it can be generated. We have done several threat assessment tests through Sophos Cyberoam and I can confidently claim that it is among the best systems in the world
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Another way of safe guarding your data is limiting user access to Removable Storage Devices. You can achieve this by allowing only 1-2 trusted machines within your network to have access to USB and CD/DVD Drives using systems like Sophos SafeGuard. This restriction will ensure control of physical movement of your data.

To prevent hacking, state-of-the-art firewalls are required to be deployed. Your Internet Gateway devices (Routers, Proxy Servers and Firewalls) must not be vulnerable to external threats and for that optimal configuration is mandatory. This will automatically detect, prevent and remove any threats to your network.

Sophos Cyberoam is a consortium of threat management solutions built around the network user for protection against insider threats, malicious software, hacker and other sophisticated network attacks. Thus, offering an all-in-one security solution that is centrally managed.

Other important aspects of security are data encryption and password protection. Encryption denies the accessible content to a potential interceptor although it does not prevent interference. A strong password is characterized by its length, complexity and unpredictability while simple passwords can be guessed or cracked by free software that are easily available to download online. Password should be changed every 90 days whether one likes it or not.